Guest post by Stacey Cooper, Business Consultant and contributor to www.bizzmarkblog.com
Most of those who have taken the plunge and started their own company are ready to admit they had so many fears before registering their companies. A similar number of them will also be happy to share the mistakes they made at the earliest stages of development. They all look at them now as learning experiences, though some mistakes were so big that the companies in question just couldn’t survive. If you’re ready to learn from their mistakes, have a look at the following ten tips.
There’ll be opportunities and “opportunities”, i.e. instances that might side-track you. You need to remain completely focused on achieving the goals you’ve set in your business plan. It is always better to do one thing well than five things not so well, since it’s your results that are the foundation of your future development.
Many people neglect this element in the early development stages of their companies, believing there’s no need to waste energy and time on establishing good organisation from day one. Nothing could be further from truth. If you are or even if you only come across as unorganised, you are unlikely to attract or keep any clients.
Appreciate your time
Believe it or not, time is and will remain your most precious and valuable commodity. If you spend it on the activities aimed at keeping the company alive instead of on helping it grow, you will have to close it down sooner rather than later. In order for that not to happen, you need to distinguish between the things you have to do and those that you should do. Also, learn to delegate, since you don’t want to be overburdened.
Eradicate unnecessary red-tape
There is no country in the world without bureaucracy, but its levels vary. As if bureaucracy itself wasn’t difficult enough to overcome, companies, no matter how big or small, also tend to sprout red-tape. You need to scrutinise your policies and procedures and eliminate all the segments that are an obstacle to providing service to customers.
Have a budget
A carefully and realistically planned budget will help you stay focused on your goals and provide invaluable checkpoints. Also, you need to define your breakeven point to know at what point you start making a profit or loss.
Create financial back-up
Whether you have a separate budget set aside to help you overcome cash-flow difficulties or you’re considering increasingly popular and affordable invoice loans, this is an issue that needs to be addressed immediately, since it might escalate so much that you’ll be forced to close down your business merely because of it.
We stop learning when we die, they say. A company learns when it changes in such a way that it becomes more efficient or diverse, or it starts providing better products or services. A company can only learn if the people working there develop, both professionally and personally, so make sure you create conditions that foster learning.
Believe in small successes
Although it’s nice and, sometimes, necessary to dream big, you really need to focus on getting the small things right. Set goals which would be small successes and focus on achieving them. What this will do to you and your company is create a winning mentality. Once you have that mind-frame, you’re ready to take the next step.
Avoid unnecessary stress
The nature of your job may be rather stressful by nature, but it doesn’t mean you need to add to that pressure. On the contrary, try to eliminate any unnecessary strain or pressure, both in terms of interpersonal relations and workload. That will contribute to the health and wellbeing of all employees, which is another crucial element in your company’s growth.
Never neglect your clients
All successful companies have some things in common. They’ve offered products and services that clients found worth paying for, which means the idea was good and they’ve provided what is perceived as excellent customer service. The latter feature is extremely important at any stage of development, but especially in the early stages. You most certainly don’t want your company to be labelled as one providing customer service below par. Even the most brilliant ideas and products and services will not help a company if they are not accompanied by equally good service.